As I watched some of ABC’s This Week on Sunday morning, I was struck by the sheer lunacy that is occurring around the postal service debate. Never in my life have I ever heard so much care and concern about the USPS as I am hearing now. Since when has the U.S. Postal Service become a precious favorite of the left that must be kept as it is right now? Well, since this is an election year and there is a pandemic to deal with, too. The post office has been politicized.
To hear Democrats and their cohorts in the media, the Bad Orange Man and Republicans are trying to use the postal service to suppress the vote. It’s all a grand conspiracy to get Donald Trump re-elected. A Trump supporter and Republican fundraiser, Louis DeJoy, was appointed to serve as the 75th United States Postmaster General in May.
During the Roundtable discussion, Rahm Emanuel, former Mayor of Chicago and Obama’s White House Chief of Staff, gave the Democrats some advice – redirect the message. He said, “You didn’t get your medicine through the mail? Donald Trump. That’s the problem. You didn’t get your Social Security check and you’re going to miss your mortgage payment? Donald Trump is the problem, a Republican problem.” Since funding the postal service is tied up in a coronavirus package in Congress, he blames Republicans for refusing to negotiate until after Labor Day. That’s his spin on how the negotiation process is going but it’s the same as all the other Democrats are saying. Never mind that it was Speaker Nancy Pelosi who told White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Mnuchen to not bother getting back to her and Senator Chuck Schumer until they were ready to accept her numbers on the funding.
Here’s the thing – current polling shows Joe Biden up with senior voters – the first Democrat presidential candidate to be winning the support of senior citizens in many election cycles. So, while we all know that polls essentially mean very little right now, Rahm Emanuel wants Democrats to capitalize on that alleged support and use it as leverage in the funding negotiations. He thinks that by turning up the heat on Republicans and blaming Trump for possible hold-ups in the mail, they will cave to Pelosi’s demands. “Let’s make this relevant to a very important constituency today.”
Republican consultant Sara Fagen countered with some common sense. “Great political messaging but it is totally false.” She noted that $77B has been lost in 12 years by the postal service and its unfunded mandate for health care and pension is twice what funding is. Louis DeJoy, someone she knows, is a smart man and is capable of putting into place the reforms sorely needed to the postal service. He’s already made administrative changes, much to the displeasure to the union workers, that will streamline the process. Now, his work will be stalled until after the election due to perception and that is unfortunate. The American taxpayers lose.
The Republicans and Democrats are far apart on funding for USPS in the coronavirus package.
House Democrats included $25 billion for the USPS in their coronavirus bill in May, along with an additional $3.6 billion in election security funding. The White House and Democratic leaders tentatively agreed to as much as $10 billion for the Postal Service in their negotiations, but that was contingent on the rest of the agreement being nailed down, which wasn’t anywhere near happening.
Democrats point to a fantasy that Trump and DeJoy are removing sorting machines and mailboxes out of post offices across the country so that it will be impossible for the postal service to handle the expected increase in mail-in voting. The truth is that machines are being moved to more needed spots and older machines are being replaced with new ones. This isn’t rocket science, nor is it some nefarious plot to re-elect Donald Trump.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, introduced a bill last week that would prohibit USPS from implementing a planned organizational overhaul that critics maintain would handicap mail-in voting.
Other top Democrats also floated addressing other issues, including expired federal unemployment benefits and voting rights. But Democratic sources said the immediate focus — at least for now — is preserving the Postal Service ahead of the election.
On Friday, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) issued a scathing statement accusing President Donald Trump and Republicans of waging an “all-out assault on the Postal Service and its role in ensuring the integrity of the 2020 election.” Their statement came after Trump said he opposes a federal infusion of funds to save the flailing postal service because he doesn’t support mail-in voting.
“The President made plain that he will manipulate the operations of the Post Office to deny eligible voters the ballot in pursuit of his own re-election,” Pelosi and Schumer said. “The President’s own words confirm: he needs to cheat to win.”
The fact is that Pelosi and the House are out for summer recess, with no votes scheduled until the week of Sept. 14. Pelosi is now considering calling the House back early from their break, probably because she realizes the Democrats are not looking so great now.
Frustration has been growing in both parties over the lack of response to the U.S. economic situation while Congress remains in recess. On Friday, roughly a half-dozen House members spoke by phone with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to discuss ways to break the impasse.
The group, dubbed the Problem Solvers Caucus, included members of both parties, including swing district Democrats like Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.).
So, that is where we are now. Remember, it was Rahm who is fond of saying, Never let a crisis go to waste. That is exactly what is happening right now. The crisis is the inability of Pelosi to get the Republicans to cave on her greedy demands for more taxpayer dollars at the negotiating table. The solution, in his mind anyway, is to start scaring the elderly voters who rely on the postal service.